My first experience with an elephant was in a Zoo. My grandfather was in charge of walking the elephants to and from their winter and summer quarters. I was in awe of these gentle giants and at the young age of seven everything seemed larger than life. It’s hard to believe that these gentle giants are losing the battle against poachers. Poaching ivory is a billion dollar worldwide trade. No one species can stand up against this slaughter alone. Elephants are disappearing from their native ranges at an alarming rate.
Elephants are a keystone species.
“Elephants are considered a Keystone species in the African landscape. They pull down trees, break up bushes, create salt licks, dig waterholes, and forge trails. Other animals, including humans, like the pygmies of the Central African Republic, depend on the openings elephants create in the forest and brush and in the waterholes they dig.” From Asian Elephant and African Elelephant Endangered species. http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_elephant.htm
Elephants never forget. One matriarch elephant carries within her memory thousands of years of knowledge that has been passed down to her from generation to generation. Human beings pass down knowledge from generation to generation. That is the definition of culture: ways of living are taught to one group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another. If that is true than, elephants are people, or human.
Elephants are disappearing from earth at an alarming rate.
“The African elephant once roamed the entire continent of Africa, and the Asian elephant ranged from Syria to northern China and the islands of Indonesia. These abundant populations have been reduced to groups in scattered areas south of the Sahara and in isolated patches in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.” http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_elephant.htm
Leading cause of poaching of elephants is the illegal trade of ivory. International pressure to stop this trade has led to the break up of these illegal ivory trade rings. “A Thai national was charged with trafficking today after a 17-month investigation, involving the first collaboration between US and Thai law enforcement authorities. Earlier this week, Thailand’s nature crime police also raided ivory shops, seized tusks and arrested two other dealers in the crackdown.” Thai ivory-smuggling ring broken up, The Guardian, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jan/20/ivory-smuggling-ring-thailand
African elephant poaching fueled by illegal demand for ivory
Africans have lived side by side with elephants for thousand of years. That all changed over the last 50 years. Native Africans caught up with the rest of the industrial world’s thirst for technology became involved in the illegal elephant ivory trade. Native African were employed in the illegal elephant ivory trade. “If I killed two or three elephants I might get 60 to 80,000 shillings for the tusks,” he said, a sum worth about $1,000 to $1,300 in the mid-1990s. “…(Even today…ivory has skyrocketed to a high of ore than $2,000 per kilo, poachers only earn around $100 a kilo.)” from The End For Elephants, Gangsters Use Poachers To Make A Killing In The Ivory Trade by Tristan McConnell, Earth Island Journal, Summer 2015, http://www.earthislandjournal.org
Elephant species could be extinct within two decades.
In east Africa only 100,000 elephants remain according to: “The Africa Elephant Summit, held at a tourist resort in Kasane, gathered delegates from about 20 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia, including China – which is accused of fuelling the illegal poaching trade.” The Guardian, 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/24/african-elephants-could-be-extinct-in-wild-within-decades-say-experts
What’s being done to stop the slaughter of elephants?
The U.S. Has stepped up to the plate and stopped all trade of ivory. Including, antique and legal ivory trade according to: “The president’s boldest – and most controversial – decision was to prohibit all commercial imports and interstate commerce in elephant ivory, including antiques. Opponents suggest this unfairly targets owners of legal ivory and argue that the new rules will do nothing to protect elephants in Africa. To secure elephants and their habitats, argue critics (who say they support such a goal), only a legal ivory market will do.” U.S. News, Close the U.S. Ivory Market for Good. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2014/05/19/end-the-us-ivory-trade-to-stop-elephant-poaching
Losing these gentle giants could be the beginning of the end of the human race. Our earth’s crust is home to 7 billion humans. That’s a lot of weight to carry on the earth’s Fragile crust. Besides human beings, there exists billions of other beings living on planet earth’s crust. Human beings have defined themselves as the superior species but have been the leading cause of extinction for other species. The Western Black Rhino is the latest fatality and is now extinct due to man’s vanity.
What can you do to stop the extinction of elephants?
Use less. It’s that simple. Many products are made from fossil fuels, such as oil. Plastic is oil. Plastic is made from oil. Reduce your consumption.
Become an active citizen. Vote. Participate in your local, state, and federal government. Contact your state and federal representatives let them know that you want to keep the Engangered Species Act intact. Congress has several anti wildlife bills in the works right now that will take away your right to question laws through judicial litigation.
Education is key to saving earth’s dwindling resources. Here’s one youth program that teaches, https://www.rootsandshoots.org/ Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots teaches students to become active in protecting the environment.
Become an advocate of wildlife. #KeepElelphantsProtected #KeepWolvesListed #StopWildlifeExtinction
Be a compassionate member of society
Film footage shot by scientists at the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya caught Eleanor as she fell to the ground after being bitten. “It was a dramatic demonstration that elephants, like humans, show compassion after a death of one of their own species, care about other elephants in distress and have a strong interest in the dead – and not only for their immediate kin. From the article, Elephants show compassion in the face of death, by Roger Highfield, The Telegraph 2015 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1526287/Elephants-show-compassion-in-face-of-death.html